~ SO THE OTHER DAY, The She-Binks was out with a friend over tea, and while they were chatting, happened to mention a certain small resort in rural Nova Scotia. She had her smrtphone with her, on the table. She hadn’t googled that place, or anything like: just spoken words.
Two days later, advertising banners for that small resort showed up on her smrtphone. She was underwhelmed. and came to mention the strange occurrence. Somebody had been dropping some eaves.
Lesson? They Are All Listening. Presume so. To EVERYTHING within earshot. To your confessions, married special-time, private business chats, secrets, dinner conversation, family fights. Anywhere these computerized phones are present, BigEar may be listening in.
Our Electronic Mini-Masters?
I don’t have one– my last was a fancy flip-phone. But I presume my iPad is listening, and her smrtphone, and the two boy’s smrtphones.
When you think about the brain-effects, spying, and biological effects of smartphone & cellphone technology– and the rising number of cancers which might be linked to their use– it strikes me that this is a giant socio-biological experiment with no permission or parameters, introducing many good and bad factors into daily human life, often from toddler on up. Experiment. Like on rats.
For those of us geezers raised in the pre-smartphone/ social media era, all of this is an add-on technology, which can multiply our existing curiousity, wonder, imagination, habits of being & learning & socializing. It’s a power-tool of sorts.
Quick: Example Us, Binks!
SO, for example– I’m currently reading Nigel Tranter’s Margaret The Queen. When I’m reading a book (dead tree or Kindle), I will constantly be looking up places, definitions, pictures of the places, historical summaries, art, related literature, and other interesting detail to flesh out the book. It becomes three-dimensional learning, based on my older trained & ingrained pre-digital habits.
What of the screen-addicted younger people raised in a time who have never known the old ways of curiousity, imagination, extrapolation, a love of learning and the intellect at play? I’m worried that endless music-playlists, SnapChat, InstaGram, flickering bytes and images which go by like dead leaves in a windstorm make it harder to develop those older qualities, which are not simply a “Different” form of intellectual and mental life, but the kind that is thousands of years old, and which built & sustained Western Civilization for thousands of years. Are our kids and grandkids being mentally flickered to death?
Who Did This? Not the Kids
Even if older generations find smartphones are manageable tools, it is a false logic to assume that people raised on them will turn out likewise. It’s that same thing with TV addiction in my youth: the idiot box ate your time, gave you a lazy brain, and– it turns out– wound up aggression even as kids were passively drooling before the one-eyed God.
Smartphones & digital technology are super-TV on meth & cocaine, doing untold damage all around us, even as we look on, semi-uncomprehendingly. “Kids today”, we moan, forgetting that every society creates exactly the kids it deserves. Think about it. ~
“The Upside Down is an alternate dimension existing in parallel to the human world. It contains the same locations and infrastructure as the human world, but it is much darker, colder and obscured by an omnipresent fog…. [a] dimension that is a dark reflection, or echo, of our world. It is a place of decay and death, a plane out of phase, a place of monsters. It is right next to you and you do not even see it.” … “Nope. No parallels under here.” (Hilary White)
~ BINKS IS just about to finish ‘Stranger Things‘ on Netflix, Season 1. Must say, I love it.. and it’s hard not to binge-watch it.
No major spoilers ensue below. Promise.
Like ‘The Matrix‘, the hit-show Stranger Things employs that familiar & human sense of displacement, weirdness, that there is an Unseen all around us which sometimes breaks in upon us in our ‘ordinary’ lives. That there is more going on than meets the eye.
In the popular Netflix series, which overflows with references to 80’s pop-culture, there is literally an evil copy parallel dimension called ‘The Upside Down‘, where people can be trapped, and eaten by a monster. The dimensional doorways can appear anywhere and everywhere: the wall of a house, a tree trunk, the basement of a top-secret government lab.
What both ‘The Matrix‘ and ‘Stranger Things‘ lack to make them universal is a spiritual universe above and inter-penetrating the visible ‘ordinary’ universe.. and a clear sense of God & His guiding providence. Sadly, religion plays almost no part in the show, or the lives of the characters.
What ‘Meant’ Means
By comparison, the writer J.R.R. Tolkien repeatedly mentions providence without explicating that it is of the Valar (archangels) and Eru (God). The wizard Gandalf’s own long mission in Middle Earth was a sending from the Blessed Land to fight evil, help the free peoples via suffering and pity, and– ultimately– to defeat Sauron, the dark successor to Morgoth (a fallen Valar, the Satan-figure).
In that Lord Of The Rings scene– which Peter Jackson moves from Frodo’s kitchen to the Mines Of Moria– we read:
Frodo: “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”
Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times; but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.”
That ‘meant’ bears a world of significance. Consider.
‘Meant’ is God’s providence, in the world, in events, ‘coincidences’, and via people. The Bible proclaims: “All things work together for good to them that love God.” [Rom. 8:28] Note: NOT ‘all things will be pleasant, easy, and straightforward’.
Remember: Christians serve a Crucified and Risen King, who still bears His (now glorious) scars. No easy path there: take up your cross. Follow, die.
Living Our Double Sight
And there’s another sense of “the unseen dimension”, our own actual “Upside Down”, which tempers our anger and enlightens our struggles. As Saint Paul teaches the Christians of Ephesus, and us:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Eph. 6:12]
Any battle with sin, darkness, heresy– in the church and the world, and in our own hearts, is a combination of many forces, many invisible, or acting through us or other people in a greater & darker pattern than the simply human (as bad as we can be).
Exorcists are still busy in 2018. Possessed people still exist– some in politics, and in the Church itself. Even some clergy may be thus.
The Disorientation Is Real
In the current pontificate of Francis, there is unprecedented darkness, division, dishonesty, confusion and discouragement afoot. Papal hyper-loyalists rally ’round the revolutionary throne, throwing accusations at critics and radical (deep-rooted) Catholics who demand the whole witness of the Church to be heard, respected, lived, taught.
Sometimes, it feels as if an UnChurch from some evil parallel dimension like ‘The Upside Down‘ has invaded our reality, and is seeking to proclaim itself as the real, true, and only thing to serve. There is a spiritual war afoot: each of us can play a double part, on earth as in heaven, for good or bad. The darkness is not simply the opposition themselves, nor we only the bright good ones– for humility and reality’s sake, we admit there are brighter and darker forces in conflict within what we see, and in each soul.
Holy loyalty and faithfulness and restraint are good: but we do not honour the Church or her current leadership via our blind obedience, nor forgetting Whom She really belongs to, and Whose Voice she is supposed to obey. His will is not simply to be identified with the novel dictates of people who seem bound to another message, an unKingdom, a utopia of exalted man making himself into a God, his desires and feelings the measure of all truth and goodness. OUR kingdom come, OUR will be done: and yet, even in this, a greater darkness can be felt, seeping through, pushing, ruining, distorting the Church, but also the fever dreams of utopia, too.
Some Christian Basics
That evil unholy being is not some exact counterpart to God, but a created and fallen Enemy, and likewise all the fallen angels and powers under his control. Alone, we cannot defeat such darkness, for we are but mortal and finite and compromised with darkness ourselves. From such, Christ came to deliver us.
Ancient Paganism sought to placate the dark powers; to deflect the ill will of spirits, gods, sprites, and malicious beings of every sort. Animal and human sacrifice was the trading of precious life for benefits, or being left alone.
The Incarnation changed all that. Jesus is become the Lord of the living and the dead. The suffering King Jesus lays bare the plans and pride and shining schemes of Lucifer; He bore in himself our sin, and has already won the victory over sin, and death, and Hell.. yet the long wrapping up of the battle will seem almost like defeat, as the faithful must abide darkness in the world, the Church, the human heart, and in malicious spiritual forces.
But, but– What To DO?
Read the headlines; pray; comfort one another; love the sacraments; repent. Read the Bible & the Church Fathers, and the saints. Read solid blogs and books. Same as it ever was, and there’s no greener grass elsewhere. Cheer up! It will very likely get much worse.
Stay faithful, for God is faithful, and will not abandon us, or leave us weak and comfortless and enslaved to the machinations of the Enemy and his minions, nor to our own sins, negligences, and ignorances. These bizarre times WILL be sorted by God, and by his judgment & mercy, and by better Church leaders and theologians in decades and centuries to come. +
“Lo, I am with you always,
even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
[St. Matthew 28:20]
~ THE BUZZ IS real, as is the political and cultural desperation. I think we just went through the mirror into Neverneverneverland.
After her Golden Globes speech when she glommed onto the #MeToo thing, to the exclusion of all the other people who were caught up by Harveywood predators (some knowingly), the “Is She Presidentable?” buzz is high around media mogul Oprah Winfrey.. at least in Hollyweird, and Demwashington. Plus, she blamed everybody everywhere for CastingCouchGate, so that always makes Hollywood scum feel better about themselves.
A Real Desolation
What’s a despairing Dem to do? Trump just keeps on, despite the best lies and smears Clinton Foundation & Friends can buy. More Hillary?! Nope, says America.
OK, then. How about crazy Comrade Bernie?.. again? Or Fakeohontas Warren? Joey “Girl-Toucher & Free Backrubs” Biden? You can hear the twice-defeated Wicked Witch of The Clintons gnashing her teeth already.
Yet Orpah herself is a known quantity– she has a record, a long list of words and deeds, not all of them attractive, or easily digested. And she has a long association with DC, Hollywood, creeps like Harvey Weinstein ( #OprahKnew !), along with professional race-baiters like Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton & Co..
But Wait, There’s More!
And then there’s this 2013 gem:
“As long as people can be judged by the color of their skin, the problem is not solved,” she said, adding,“there are still generations of people, older people, who were born and bred and marinated in it – in that prejudice and racism – and they just have to die.”
.. she says, judging people by the colour of their skin. Not old people of all colours: she means Old White People. Just. Have. To. Die. So very nice, is Okra.
I can’t even imagine saying that, let alone thinking it, let alone saying it to a reporter in a recorded interview. Yes, she did say that.
Yes, Orcah Winfrey, herself, is a bitter prejudiced and racist person. But only white people are or can be racist.. she and her ilk have it all figured out. It’s cuddly Black Pantherism and race war in a glossy remake. Obama with more charm, and media savvy.
So-and-so must DIE to bring about a better society? Extend this a little bit, and it sounds a little creepy and totalitarian, minus warm feelz. Very 18th to 20th century. Pick the bad guys to kill: Aristos, Vendeeans, the Irish, Counter-revolutionaries, White Russians, Jews, fascists, Tutsis, non-Communist Cambodians, infidel non-Muslims, unborn babies, expensive old people… if only we could get rid of X, then “Utopia Now!”
It’s Not Just Her
Truth is, we’re all a little racist. Yes. Everybody. All colours, races, creeds, classes, and ideologies. You*, me, him, her. All.
To pretend otherwise– like Orphrey Winfrey apparently does– is actually one short step from weaponized racism with a dash of delusion sauce. A “Be Ready to purge The Evil Ones” position, like that of noted racist and race-baiter and BLM riot & mob-backer “Constitutional Lawyer” Barry Soetoro Obama & his master George Soros. Be very afraid.
Come, Sweet Meteor Of Death, 2020!
Candidate Winfrey? Could she be a Hillary, only with skill and media-savvy, a Trump-killer? A black woman for President, with all of Obama’s cronies back in power?
Dunno. But America has officially become a giant reality-TV show.
If I were American, I’d be pre-registering my vote for SMOD, 2020. Seriously. ~
Against all Satan’s spells and wiles, Against false words of heresy, Against the knowledge that defiles, Against the heart’s idolatry, Against the wizard’s evil craft, Against the death wound and the burning, The choking wave and the poisoned shaft, Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.
~ UPDATE– ITEM:What you missed on 5×06 of Game of Thrones, by Maisie Williams. Writes Hilary White: “Wallowing in evil isn’t going to make you happy. You don’t prove how grown-up you are watching this stuff. But you do make your heart just that little bit harder.”
“….now that’s what the show has been reduced to – fast action sequences, rape and sexual violence, and occasionally a political scene where Cersei or Dany repeat the same tired monologue from season 3 and stare off into the distance. It’s just pure laziness.“
+ + +
~ AS A PROUD card-carrying member of Michael Coren’s invented “Church Of Nasty“, I like nasty verses like the one above from the Prayer Of St. Patrick. Full of dark, fun stuff, right? Muwahahahaha.
Yeah, about that nasty thing. “Defile” seems so old-fashioned. How about: poop in your soup. How many spoonfuls would you like?
Aside from the time-killing thing, too much of what passes for ‘entertainment’ on TV is all about defiling: increasing your tolerance for vicarious gory, ugly, salacious, degrading, violent, morally perved soft-porny content. You finish watching, and your soul is dirtier, your mind & memory is filled with ick, you’ve been entertained by pretend but realistic disorder, evil, murder, rape, or whatever.
Pick The Poop
Lots of it out there, for guilty pleasures: Game Of Thrones, Dexter, Breaking Bad, Sons Of Anarchy, Spartacus, Oz the prison drama, The Walking Dead, Orange Is The New Black, and on it goes. As Branko Malic observes in his excellent essay ‘GAME OF THRONES: ATROCITY EXHIBITION‘ we become hollow spectator-men, watching unreal CGI and fake savagery and atrocity and horrors, faux suffering and meaningless arbitrary story:
“For spectator-man, the pain of life was never smaller, and the urge to inflict it never greater. His hands are free of blood, while his soul drowns in it. So it goes with the soul – this thing its possessors don’t even believe exists, though its closer to them than they are themselves – it holds its own judgment, whether we like it or not.”
What about a willingness to be grossed out, offended, squirmy– and to turn something off or watch something better? Why not?
I’ve dealt with hundreds of actual dying and dead people, their relatives and friends. That’s death. With veterans who lost friends with names; with the consequences and sorrow and return from loss. Real stuff, with consequences and some wounds which never totally heal, and life must somehow go on.
It Is To Wallow
I finally quit watching morally inside-out and upside-down shows like Dexter and related, and have avoided most of the other similar series. After all, Dexter is an evil psychopathic murderer.. cheering him on or liking him, or being glad he escaped capture is actually willing– albeit fictional– evil. Do we need to fill our minds & souls & memories with such things? Yet we so quickly fall for it.
Voyeuristic pleasure and ‘entertainment’ from ugliness makes our souls ugly; coarsens our compassion and sympathy; separates suffering from the real-world people and consequences of same; has untold consequences for pre-teens, teens and young people, who watch such stuff now as people of previous generations listened to radio-dramas, or watched the comparatively sane & tame TV of the past.
How much poop would you like in your soup?
Cue The Ancient World
St. Paul lived in a time of the cheapness of human life via slavery, gladiatorial combat, temple prostitution, torture or execution of slaves, and public execution via wild animals, crucifixion, and so on. It was the Jews and then the early Christians who showed mercy to strangers; care for the abandoned babies, and to the sick and dying; who loved one another no matter class, nation, or gender; who even began to undermine the retrograde economics of slavery, by reminding masters and slaves that Jesus was Lord, and that changed everything.
Thus, St. Paul knew all about the dark possibilities of unredeemed life, because it was all around him and every convert in the cultures of the day, within the Roman Empire. Therefore, Blessed Paul is not being simply a naïve scold or a fun-killer when he warns the Christians of Philippi not to be like their pagan neighbours, seeking thrill and false entertainment in gory spectacle at the forum or races, or in degrading entertainment or religious practices, so easily available all around them.
Whereof I Speak
Binks is a covert to active Christianity, not much raised in it, nor a goody two-shoes, or someone who has never known or done bad & evil things, crimes, and misdemeanors. I’ve wallowed and swilled in our toxic culture, and find it difficult to learn about without getting caught up again, or tempted to the downward moral handcart which is the ever-lowering standard of cable TV.
All of my past defiling and besmirchments I wish I could undo, as I ask for a renewed purity of heart, mind and soul– but being a fallen human, I cannot do that on my own, nor know what to replace it with, if I am not given God’s grace to look up from the mud and manure all around us and on us. I too stand convicted, as an elf of my times.
O Lord, make me pure, but not yet? St. Patrick prayed: “Against the knowledge that defiles, Against the heart’s idolatry.” Amen.
How much poop would you like in your soup?
So, What’s In Your Diet?
We, who obsess over food content, additives, vitamins, health food, GMOs, and our diets, seem to have forgotten something even more important. What you think, what you ingest mentally, what you allow to enter your mind & heart and soul is not morally neutral.
That every body is doing it is no excuse. That “I’m not hurting anybody” does not make it a good– you are actually a ‘somebody’ in reality, aside from the lie that toxic culture doesn’t hurt people, and that mass-media doesn’t want to sell us normalized sin of all sorts. And yeah, ladies, you may not be much tempted to nekkid pictures, but consider yourselves above such ‘male’ things as you read your r-rated romance mommy-porn novels.
We of the compromised Western middle classes have cheerfully embraced the pron-at home, gore on TV, and shrugs all ’round as consumers of literally almost anything on TV, video, the interwebs, and the theatre. You know, because we’re cool, with it, it’s our business, and (admit it, at bottom) the old rebel Adam & Eve yell “You Can’t Tell ME What To DO” along with the 3-year old shout “You’re Not The Boss Of Me!”, bellowed to anybody who even meekly warns about our degrading and degraded culture, and– if we are hollow cultural Christians– shouted in the face of the Father & God who loves us, redeems us, seeks to wash us clean inwardly and outwardly, and impart new life to those who believe on His Son.
“Therefore, my brethren, those things that are true, those that are honorable, those that are righteous, those things that are pure, those things that are precious, those things that are praiseworthy, deeds of glory and of praise, meditate on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Real things, and good things, and good deeds done with love– these are best. ~